The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (3740A) Private Robert Charles Channells, 45th Battalion, First World War

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Albert Bapaume Area, Pozieres Area, Pozieres
Accession Number PAFU2014/292.01
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 8 August 2014
Access Open
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copyright restrictions apply. Only personal, non-commercial, research and study use permitted. Permission of copyright holder required for any commercial use and/or reproduction.

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Troy Clayton, the story for this day was on (3740A) Private Robert Charles Channells, 45th Battalion, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

3740A Private Robert Charles Channells, 45th Battalion
KIA 7 August 1916
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 8 August 2014

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Robert Charles Channells of the 45th Battalion, who was killed in France in the First World War.

Robert Channells was born in 1892 and was the tenth of 11 children to William and Eliza Channells of Macksville in New South Wales. He went to school at Eungai Creek and later worked as a teamster and labourer in the Nambucca area. Both of Robert’s parents passed away while he was a young man. In September 1915 Robert travelled to Sydney and enlisted in the AIF at Victoria Barracks. After three months of training at Holsworthy camp he embarked with the 12th reinforcements for the 2nd Battalion, which was then fighting on Gallipoli.

By the time Robert had arrived in Egypt the Gallipoli campaign had come to an end. Australian forces were returning from the Dardanelles, and spent the next few months training at Mena Camp. Robert was transferred to the newly raised 45th Battalion in March 1916, and in June arrived in France to take part in the fighting on the Western Front.

No sooner had the 45th Battalion arrived in France than it was moved to the Somme region, where it was heavily engaged in the fighting at Pozières. In August the 45th was among a number of units from the 4th Division to relieve the 2nd Division following its capture of the formidable German defences on the outskirts of the village. The Australian positions were shelled relentlessly by German artillery, undoubtedly the worst endured on the Western Front. On the night of 6 August, German troops launched a series of counter-attacks on the eastern side of Pozières which aimed to recapture lost ground. Casualties were heavy; however, the 45th Battalion managed to hold its ground on the southern side of the Albert-Bapaume road. The cost of defending the Australian positions had been high, with more than 50 men of the 45th Battalion killed in the German attack. One of them was Private Robert Channells, who was just 25 years old when he died. His remains were never recovered, and his name is commemorated alongside 10,700 other Australians killed in the fighting in France.

Robert Channells’ name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, alongside 60,000 others from the First World War. There is no photograph in the Memorial’s collection to display beside the Pool of Reflection.

This is one of the many stories of courage and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Private Robert Charles Channells, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in service of our nation.

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